I got into an argument with my tween.
This happens between us—which makes sense as she’s so much like me.
She shut me off and refused to talk. I was angry with her silence. And even though we were sitting inches apart, the distance between us was stark.
I knew we would arrive at her basketball practice shortly, which meant this argument would carry over into the evening.
Instead of causing more tension, I simply said I love you.
And then I said it again. And again. And again, until she finally gave me an annoyed grunt of recognition.
I (along with my husband) am raising three kids. A 13-year-old girl, an 11-year-old girl, and a 4-year-old boy.
And I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.
I mess up often. Clearly.
I’m usually too loud or too quiet and never know what to say.
The early fears of making sure they were eating nutritious foods and getting enough sleep and learning how to read and write and wash their hands have turned into much bigger, much deeper concerns.
Now I worry about them making friends, and how they treat people, and if they’ll figure out how to be a good human and, oh yeah, please stay away from drugs and alcohol and never, ever be the bully.
My gosh, how do I teach them all of this?
I’ve decided just to love them.
Because the rest of it will come. The rest of it will look messy and weird and hard and we’re all going to screw it up.
But my love for them? I’ve got that one mastered.
So, I tell them “I Love You!” at random times during the day.
In text messages, on notes, when they go to bed, when they walk to school, when they’re happy, and yes, when we’re arguing.
Because there’s one thing I know without a doubt that I’m good at—and that’s loving my kids with every ounce of my soul.
No matter what—no questions asked.
And I’ll do everything I can to make sure they never forget it.